This course was essential to my success as a sociology major because it introduced me to skills such as the application of quantitative and statistical techniques to sociological data. There was questionnaire construction, coding, sampling, building/maintaining data sets, probability, statistical distributions, hypothesis testing, and theoretical modeling. I learned how to explain basic concepts of social statistics, summarize numeric data by computing descriptive statistics (e.g. mean and variance), and created tables and graphs. For each procedure, we completed calculations by hand through the use of a calculator and computer methods using SPSS and Rstudios ®. There were tested hypotheses using the probability theory. I was taught the differences between various statistical techniques and how to identify the proper technique for given research questions and data.

These skills are useful to my career because statistics is the primary analytical method in sociology and many other social sciences. My statistical ability will impact my performance in graduate programs as well as any potential research I choose to do. Statistics also has practical value for people who pursue non-academic careers because some jobs require experience in data management and analysis (e.g. federal and state government jobs, and marketing positions). Social statistics is the field of statistical science that deals with the study of social phenomena and in particular human behavior in a social environment. This consists of any kind of human activities, societies, and nations and their impacts on culture, education, and other areas. 

Data analysis was emphasized for organization, summarizing, and interpreting data for scientific research. Social statistics deals with the application of statistical methodology. It can help me in the areas of survey methodology, official statistics, sociology, psychology, political science, criminology, public policy, marketing research, demography, education, economics, and many more. I learned important concepts needed to understand statistics in research because it stands out. I also became a better consumer of statistics in my own life. Mastering the materials learned from this course can help me improve my status as a job candidate.

In this class, I also learned about conceptualization, research design, concept formation, data collection, data reduction, data analysis, and data interpretation for both sociology and criminology. I learned about both basic research, applied research, and methods of conducting program evaluation. The principal objective of this course is to provide you with a basic understanding of social scientific research qualitative and quantitative methodologies with an emphasis on social science research. I learned how to analyze categorical data which helped measure attitudes and opinions within the data we collected.

This year, we worked with the data we collected from last year’s surveys with Dr. Lee Bidwell’s class to see how parents in our community respond to specific parental engagement programs. This type of research is often called an assessment. We specifically targeted parents and caregivers of children from three to five years old, who are enrolled in Head Start in Farmville and Buckingham County. We learned how to conduct the data into SPSS and ® to understand the effects of our independent variables (which varied) among the dependent variable (parent engagement). I conducted research on how the child’s race affected the overall enjoyment of the activities. I came to find that the child’s race had no effect on the enjoyment of the activities. Overall I learned a lot about how to conduct research as a sociology major. The material I learned will help me prepare for going into my career. 

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